Eighty-six percent of respondents believe there is a unique American identity based on freedom and opportunity secured by the Constitution including freedom of speech, religious liberty, and private property. Respondents younger than 35 years old were more likely to hold that there is no unique American identity.
Victoria Hughes, The Insider, Fall 2008 commenting on a poll by the Bradley Project on National Identity
I am not numbered among those who believe that being American makes me one of God’s chosen people. However, this quotation (the emphasis is mine) requires serious reflection.
First, how many of those under 35 believe there is no unique American identity? The entire significance of the paragraph turns on the answer to that question. If it is 15% for those above and 16% for those under 35, then who cares?
Second, do those under 35 believe there is no unique American identity (a ridiculous notion no matter how you look at it) or do those under 35 believe there is no unique American identity “based on freedom and opportunity secured by the Constitution including freedom of speech, religious liberty, and private property”?
Therefore, I do not appreciate the way the author recorded this paragraph at all. She makes a rather apocalyptic sounding point about those under 35 without even letting us know if the point really is apocalyptic. Clearly, she was writing only for the “choir,” but even choirs have their faith shaken by bad sermons.
But let us assume the worst for a moment. Let us assume that those under 35 are significantly more ignorant and lacking in awareness and common sense on this matter than those over 35.
Do those under 35 not believe in a unique American identity because they are simply too young to recognize it, or is there some other, more nefarious reason for this complete lack of self-awareness? How, after all, could a nation not have a unique identity?
If it is not simple youthfulness that makes them so stupid, what does?
- Lack of good TV shows about American history like you could watch in the 50’s and 60’s?
- Public schools rooted in the content minimized progressive tradition that doesn’t want children to be stuck in the traditions of their parents and ancestors?
- A media that rather obviously wants US to be part of an abstracted global community?
What do you think causes this problem, if indeed there is a problem?
Having come down hard on the paragraph above, I want to direct you to the Bill of Rights Institute, promotion of which was the real point of the article I referenced. I have not done a thorough analysis of their web site, but given how crucial it is that we understand our constitution, I want to champion anybody who helps us read it. Go to www.billofrightsinstitute.org/constitutionday.
(You’ll have to forgive them the folly of putting the word institute in their domain name. I would never, ever do that…)